Surrounded by Ghosts

I was sad today. I don’t really have much of an idea why. It might have started at assembly, because the farewell party for Class 8 is tomorrow. I thought it was today, but anyway it’s tomorrow. I started to think of how school will be so different without C there. I will still enjoy it, but it will be an entirely different experience. My sun won’t be at school everyday. I will see her on weekends.

Maybe it’s that I am trying to work through the idea that change is different from death. So many things seem like: How are they different? How are they the same? Find 10 differences between the pictures…

Which means you have to actually look at them.

Or maybe it’s just coming to terms with myself. Someone posted a memorial kind of thing to the Sandy Hook kids who were massacred. They said they couldn’t imagine anything worse. Well, that person clearly wasn’t trying that hard. Imagine they were tortured before being murdered. Imagine they were kidnapped and then tortured for years. That was what I saw as a child.

What happened in Rwanda was worse, in fact. The Holocaust was worse. What children are experiencing in Syria is worse.

I am not saying this to diminish the horror of what happened at Sandy Hook or the way the community must be reeling afterward, but is it that things don’t seem real unless they happen to children you imagine to be like you, middle-class, white, of your own nationality and religion (even if they weren’t?) Is that why a person can say I cannot imagine worse horror? Or is it just that horror never gets really processed for anyone and every new horror is fresh?

It’s a birdwalk perhaps—I was sad long before I read that particular post.

Maybe it’s just still hard for me to watch life going on for some children and not others. Life going on for some children is wonderful, but the full-stop crashing down of life for other children is still unspeakable to me. I suppose that’s it. These children get tea and momos, but my lost children don’t even get a grave. I suppose I so badly need the world to remember them, to feel that their lives mattered to someone besides me. There is someone else who can think of them and feel, “What might they have been?” And imagines all the lost potential in the way that I do.

I need my own Holocaust museum, not so that I can grieve better, but so that I can feel those lives mattered to someone else besides me. So that I can feel their worth was to society, and not just me.

But I also get this is what life might be like for me. Every milestone I witness, every wedding, graduation, birth, or death will be an occasion they did not live to experience. None of them can see C’s promotion. Most of them did not get to have their own. At every event, I will be surrounded by ghosts.


2 thoughts on “Surrounded by Ghosts

  1. desilef December 15, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    You’ve made them matter. Of course I always “knew” sexual exploitation of children was horrible, but you’ve made it personal. I’m registered in a training course to take place in January about identification and intervention for children being commercially exploited for sex. I registered in their honor and yours. (This course is being offered, free, all over California. Awareness is growing, but even so, I doubt many people can get their heads around a father selling his daughter.)

    • Ashana M December 16, 2015 / 5:22 pm

      That really means a lot to me.

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